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Posted: August 13, 2011 6:16 p.m.

Latarski: The home of wayward bats

This was one of those things that cause you to say, "Ah, Shucks" or something similar.

Not being a slave to yard work I do the minimum required to keep the abode from being overrun by growth and the county ordinance man away.

Given thunderstorms and temperatures I decided the best way to attack yard work would be to meet the enemy at the crack of dawn to avoid the heat.

I opened the barrage doors and was reaching for a rake when something flapped over my head, landed on the top of one of my many cluttered shelves and disappeared behind a box.

It was a bat.

I'm not especially down on bats. Some people think bats are rats with wings. They are wrong. Pigeons are rats with wings.

In many ways bats have gotten a bad rap over the years. Like us, bats are mammals and we are probably jealous of them because they are the only mammals that can fly.

The bad reputation is probably due to Bela Lugosi and vampires. I always thought being a vampire would be a good job: you work at night, you get to fly and your job is to nibble women on the neck, which is good work if you can get it. You also get to live long enough to learn a foreign language.

While some bats, such as the vampire and fruit, can do damage, most are relatively harmless creatures and we should be grateful to them because they eat about a hundred times their weight in mosquitoes, which makes them more useful than members of Congress. Any critter that can decrease the mosquito population should be applauded.

But I did not want one living in my garage. I decided the best course would be to leave the bat alone, open the doors in the evening and let the creature find its own way out.

So I sat in a lawn chair on the far side of the garage enjoying a beverage and watching the sun dip below the horizon. I was armed with a broom. I figured if the bat got confused I could use the broom to encourage it to leave without harm. The broom also had a wooden handle which I could use as a stake - just in case.

I was expecting the bat to leave when I was startled to see something zoom across the garage, land on the shelf and disappear behind the same box. It was a second bat.

When it should be going out to eat this silly creature was coming in. This bat seemed confused about its job and did not understand the nature of its work, rather like the Tea Party vision of government.

I did not relish the idea of becoming a home for wayward bats and now I was outnumbered.

While pondering my next move my Yorkshire Terrorists came into the garage. Sadee looked up at the shelf, sniffed, gave a low growl and looked at me with that, there's-something-behind-the-box-you-need-to-take-care-of look. Her job done, she trotted back inside and left me to deal with what was behind box number three.

I decided my best bet was the old fishing net. I thought if I could move the box and act fast I could net both bats with one swoop. I went up the ladder armed with the broom and net.

I tossed the box aside and discovered two things: bats are reeeeeeeeal quick and stepladders are not stable when a bat flies at your face and you try to dodge it.

I bounced to the floor and the only thing caught in the net was me. I stared up at the ceiling considering my options when the two bats flapped off the top shelf, flew out the garage door and disappeared into the night sky. I quickly shut the doors.

To my knowledge they did not come back and hopefully they found themselves a nice cave somewhere to call home. And I would not mind if they drop by my house in the evenings and help themselves to a feast of mosquitoes.

But from now on I make sure the garage doors are closed toward the shank of the evening and I keep a broom handy.

I even sharpened the end to make it a wooden stake - just in case.

Freelance writer Ric Latarski can be reached at Rlatarski@aol.com.

 

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